As a customer with a technical background, there is nothing more frustrating than trying to troubleshoot an issue that the vendor already knows about and won't publicly acknowledge. Being burned in hte past has led to placing about as much trust in sales and marketing types as I would in a mob lawyer turned politician.
The things I look for as a prospective customer are:
- Openness and transparency with regard to support.and development.
- Responsible handling of security issues.
- Openness and transparency with regard to pricing. If I have to deal with a salesperson to get pricing, I will take my business elsewhere even if it costs ten times as much.
If any of those things are lacking, or if I'm forced to deal with salespeople - or even worse, salepeople posing as support, my 15 years of IT anger and bitterness are going to drive me straight to your competitors.
More importantly, hiding issues doesn't protect your "dirty laundry" anymore, it just (eventually) makes it even more public, with plenty of time to sour beforehand. I suggest pointing management (and your sales and marketing people) to this wonderful essay from 1999, The Cluetrain Manifesto, which although a bit dated, perfectly foreshadowed where we are today with social media. Your product's issues are going to be public, sooner or later. The question is whether they are going to be public under a site your control, where the people finding their way from search results can see that you are aware of the issue and working on solutions - or even have already solved the issues, or are they going to find it in the form of some rant on twitter/facebook/linkedin/blogs that probably doesn't even reflect the current situation, and doesn't give the company the opportunity to respond.